SPORT

More kids play, more chances of finding talent: Natekar

COME, LET'S PLAY!Gaurav Natekar (left) at the launch of an inter-school tournament in New Delhi on Thursday.— Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

COME, LET'S PLAY!Gaurav Natekar (left) at the launch of an inter-school tournament in New Delhi on Thursday.— Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar  

Mahesh Bhupathi Tennis Academies (MBTA), on Thursday, announced the launch of an inter-school tennis tournament, in partnership with HCL, in an attempt to promote the sport among school children.

Announcing the tie-up, former India player and CEO of MBTA, Gaurav Natekar, said there were no selection criteria, and the only requirement was the kids wanting to play tennis and bringing their own racquets. “From quantity only we can get quality. The more kids play tennis, the more chances of finding a promising talent. That is one of the ideas behind this event,” Natekar said.

The MBTA, which runs 27 academies across the country, is also planning to spread the event to other cities depending on the response it receives here. Close to 40 NCR schools are expected to participate in the event here.

The tournament, to be played at the DLTA from July 27 to August 2, will be divided into two categories — team championship for under-15 boys and girls, and an individual championship for under-17 boys and girls. Each school can have a maximum of five participants.

The winners in the individual category will train for a week at the Schuttler Waske Tennis-University in Germany, with HCL sponsoring it. It is at the SWTU that the Wimbledon boys’ doubles champion, Sumit Nagal, has been training for the past one year. The runners-up of the individual category will go to the MBTA in Kochi.

Natekar said it has not been a smooth ride while getting the schools and kids on board.

“We have had problems with schools not allowing us to put up posters. Some of the kids have called up after finding out about the event to say they would like to participate, but their school isn’t allowing a team even though we are not asking for anything from the schools. It reflects sadly on our system. But, being the first year, we were aware of the problems we might face. I am sure things will get better next time,” he said.



MBTA launches an inter-school tournament; nearly 40 teams expected to take part in the Delhi leg from July 27 to August 2



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